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Admission – On Campus MSW Program

MSW application deadline for the Boise campus:

Our deadline for the next admission cycle is Friday, January 10th, 2025 (for the academic year 2025/2026)!  All items must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on this date.

Successful candidates have the following:

  • A bachelor’s degree that shows a distribution of liberal arts and social science courses
  • A cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher during the last two years of earning a bachelor’s degree or an overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Social service practice experience (paid or volunteer)
  • A personal statement written in a clear, well organized manner with no or few grammatical errors
  • Recommendation letters that indicate strong potential to succeed in a graduate program
  • A background check and response to criminal history that presents no issues
  • A willingness to understand and abide by the NASW Code of Ethics

Master of Social Work Admission Criteria

  • Completion of the Boise State University Graduate Admissions Application
  • Acceptance by the Boise State University Graduate College
  • Acceptance by the MSW Admissions Committee
  • A GPA of 3.0 or higher during the last two years of academic study or an overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  • Note: Applicants will not receive academic credit for work experience in the field or for life experience

Instructions for Graduate Applicants

For your convenience, you can download the following instructions on how to apply to the graduate school in this PDF.

Access the instructions and requirements for the personal statement below.

The process of applying is relatively straightforward and fully online. The application is broken down into three distinctive parts:

1. Create an Account

Go to the Graduate College Graduate Admission Application and start your application. Submit your information. Shortly after, you will receive an email similar to the one below, confirming your credentials.

2. Apply to the Graduate College

To continue your application, follow the link in the account confirmation email you have just received or visit the login page. Log in using your newly acquired credentials. At this time, you will be asked to pay the application fee of $65. This part of the application still pertains to the Graduate College only. Once you submit it, you will receive an email from the Graduate College.  Please read it carefully.

3. Apply to the Social Work Graduate Program

Finally, you are ready to apply to the Social Work Graduate Program. To continue your application, follow the link in the email you received from the Graduate College, or visit the log in page.

After submitting the graduate admission application, you will complete the Social Work program application. You can access the program application by logging into your application account.

For the Social Work application, you will need to complete the following steps:

Step 1:

  • Upload your personal statement
  • Upload your current resume
  • Answer the Criminal History question

*Find more details about completing these application sections at the bottom of the page.

Step 2 – Letters of Recommendation

Three (3) letters of recommendation are required. In the online application, you will give information regarding the people who will write your letters of recommendation. Provide each recommender’s name and email address.

*Find more details about completing the Letter of Recommendation at the bottom of the page.

Step 3 – Background Check

A background check must be completed as part of the application process. To order your background check, you should complete the following steps prior to the application deadline:

  • Go to
  • Place order with Boise State University School of Social Work’s package code (BJ53)
  • Pay background check fee

Admission Decision

After all of your materials have been received, Boise State will make the following decisions:

Part 1 – Admission to the University

Boise State University will admit you to the Graduate College with Degree-Seeking status after we have:

  1. Confirmed your completion of a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution or from a non-U.S. institution of higher education that is judged equivalent to a U.S. baccalaureate degree by the Boise State International Admissions office.
  2. Confirmed you have earned a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher during the last two years of academic study or an overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher.

This review process can take up to 5 business days depending on the time of the year.

Part 2 – Admission to the Program

After admission to the university has been completed, your application file will be reviewed by the Master of Social Work admissions committee who will provide an admission recommendation to the Dean of the Graduate College. The Dean will make the final admission decision and notify you with an admission status letter.

The strongest candidates have the following characteristics:

  • Bachelor’s degree shows a distribution of liberal arts and social science courses.
  • Earned a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher during the last two years of academic study or an overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Social service practice experience (paid or volunteer)
  • Personal statement is written in a clear, well organized manner with no or few grammatical errors.
  • Recommendation letters indicate strong potential to succeed in graduate program.
  • Background check and response to criminal history presents no issues.
  • Confirmation to understanding the NASW Code of Ethics is complete.

Part 3 – Registration for Classes

  • Admitted students will receive a unique student ID number and Boise State email address from the Graduate College in the admission status letter.
  • A representative from the Master of Social Work program will send admitted students information with instructions on how to register for classes, including how to complete an online orientation process.

About the Personal Statement

Your personal statement will address how your experiences, strengths, and distinguishable qualities will make a positive contribution to the Master of Social Work program and the field of social work.

Your statement should reflect your best professional writing. You need to answer all prompts below in no more than seven (7) double-spaced pages with 1-inch margins on all sides. You must begin each section of your statement with the required heading. Your statement will assist the Admissions Committee in evaluating your capacity and readiness for graduate social work education. In essence, this is an opportunity for the Admissions Committee to get to know more about you and your previous experience, and why you want to pursue an MSW.

Your statement must include headings and follow the format outlined below:

Heading for section 1: Pursuing an MSW

What has led you to seek a graduate degree in social work? Why do you want to be a social worker? What specifically led you to apply to a social work program rather than programs for other helping professionals such as psychology, counseling, or healthcare? Do you have
specific career goals within social work? (1-2 pages).

For Advanced Standing students: How has your BSW education prepared you for graduate work and influenced your decision to pursue your graduate degree?

Heading for section 2: Case Review

Read the following case study. Write a short statement (1-2 pages) using the questions that are provided as a guide.

You are a social worker in a community health clinic, and you will be seeing a new client today, named River, who is 52 years old and lives with their long-time partner. The clinic where you work serves people who are uninsured and come from low socioeconomic backgrounds. It  is a common part of your job to give out bus passes, referrals to the food bank, and help your client navigate the application process for various needs-based programs, such as food stamps. River has set up this appointment to address some of these tasks, but also the doctor at the clinic felt they would benefit from counseling as they have been experiencing some depressive symptoms. As you begin the meeting with River, they note to you that the intake forms that they completed prior to your visit only included binary gender options (i.e., female/male), and River identifies as genderqueer. They found the intake form troubling and non-inclusive, especially for a clinic that seeks to serve a wide range of underserved populations.

  • Discuss professional values and ethical principles outlined in the NASW Code of Ethics that apply to this case. How might you address River’s concern professionally during the session? After the session? What specific guidance from the Code of Ethics informed your response?
  • What issues are raised for you as you consider this case? How will you approach those issues as a professional social worker?

Heading for section 3: Social Issues & Navigating Different Beliefs

  • Take a position on a social issue of your choice (e.g., “The death penalty prevents violent crime”). Prepare 1-2 pages of argument, including facts/research in support of that position. (You will be assessed on the quality of your argument, not on the position you have chosen to take on the social issue)
  • Imagine you are leading a group with another clinician from your agency. After the group ends, while clients are still in the room, the other clinician expresses an opinion about a social issue and denigrates people who hold the opposite opinion. In a brief statement (1-2 pages), explain what you would say or do. What are important principles and practices to utilize when discussing different personal and/or professional beliefs?

About the Current Resume

At the time you are in the online admissions application, you will be asked to upload your resume or CV. The document must include any paid or unpaid social work experience shown in chronological order with the most recent activity listed first. List each paid or unpaid social work experience in the following format:

  • Agency/Company name
  • City and State where Agency/Company is located
  • Start and End dates (mm/yyyy-mm/yyyy)
  • Position title Major responsibilities of this position

About Criminal History

In the online application, we ask if you have any criminal history and to provide a brief description, if you do have a history.

A background check is required for all applicants. To ensure the safety and well-being of all clients/patients, background checks are becoming a standard requirement for employment in social services and healthcare. Background checks are required by most agencies that serve as field placement sites for social work students. It is therefore important that all applicants being considered for admission into the MSW program complete a background check before final recommendation of admission can be made.

The School of Social Work offers professional education in preparation for social work licensure and practice. Evaluation for the license to practice social work in Idaho and other states also includes a review of the applicant’s criminal record. After graduation, a past conviction may impact the ability to be licensed as well as employability.

About the NASW Code of Ethics

The NASW Code of Ethics is intended to serve as a guide to the professional conduct of social workers.

In the online application, we ask for a confirmation that you have read the NASW Code of Ethics and are aware that violation of the code may result in the termination from the program.

About the Letter of Recommendation

At least one (1) letter must be sent by a previous instructor and at least one (1) from a supervisor. Please note that recommender may be contacted to verify information. Recommendations from relatives, friends or colleagues will not be accepted. If it has been more than six (6) years since you last worked with selected instructor, you can replace this recommendation with a letter from a second supervisor. If you do not have professional work experience, you can replace letter from a supervisor with recommendation from a second instructor.

Only a letter received through the Boise State online application system will be considered for review. Thus, you must complete all fields, including an email address for the recommender, as your letter must be uploaded through this system. The program will not accept letters sent in hard copy or emailed directly to the program. The process is streamlined, and your recommendation writer will receive an email informing her/him of your request. Your recommender will be asked to create their own accounts and upload the recommendation letter/document.

NOTE: Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, students have access to their education record, including letters of recommendation. However, students may waive their right to see letters of evaluation, in which case the letters will be held in confidence. In the application, you will be asked if you wish to waive this right, and your decision will be communicated to the recommender.


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